Castlemont Elementary School

District News

Updated Wed, Oct 13th

This year, Campbell Union School District is celebrating its 100th Anniversary, and our students will play an integral part. 

Through the annual Design Challenge, teams of students will design an exhibit for the Campbell Historical Museum that will celebrate the past, present, and future of our students and schools. Using the engineering and design thinking process, students will create exhibits that explore and amplify the stories of teaching and learning in this community. Some will even create a vision for what education may be like for Campbell Union School District’s students in the next 100 years.

“Our design challenge brings students, educators, and the community together to design real-world solutions and ideas for our community,” said Julie Goo, the district’s Coordinator of Innovation, Teaching and Learning.

Throughout the year, teachers will be incorporating centennial themes into their lessons through reading, art, music, math, science, and more. 


There will be a community wide celebration on Saturday, April 30th, from 1 until 7 p.m. The afternoon will feature a museum exhibit opening reception at the Ainsley House Garden. Then, at 4 p.m., there will be a community concert on the Campbell City Green, featuring the band Clean Slate, with food, refreshments and more provided in partnership with the Campbell Chamber of Commerce.

Updated Wed, Oct 13th

Friends and Families of Campbell Union School District,

It has now been more than a month since we began testing in CUSD, and our 10,000th test came and went this week. Positivity rates remain low, and classes in nearly every school have been able to remain safe and in-class. due to the "Modified Quarantine" process. "MQ" has been a phenomenal success, with its implementation being well-demonstrated to increase classroom attendance without allowing COVID to rip its way through schools, and has been featured recently in multiple major news outlets. Following California's lead, more and more states are now implementing MQ as a way to keep kids safe and in school.

We've heard some great feedback from all of you, and continue to welcome any and all comments to Admin [at] Through your feedback, we know that some results from the Community Testing POD located at Monroe Middle School are currently delayed about 72 hours, particularly around weekends and holidays. To get you results faster, we're implementing a dedicated weekend courier to get samples to the laboratory right away. 

There are some exciting innovations on the way, too: an easier-to-access results portal, enhanced contact tracing to keep everyone highly informed, and more.

As always, don't hesitate to contact us directly with any questions, concerns, comments, or recommendations.

Dr. Richard Pescatore II, DO, FAAEM, FACEP
Chief Medical Officer, Grapefruit Testing

Updated Wed, Oct 13th

In the wake of heightened racial tensions across the nation, Campbell Union School District leaders responded with efforts to sharpen their focus on building and nurturing an inclusive and equitable school system. 

“We are committed to promoting a positive learning experience for all students,” said District Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “Our Anti-bias/Anti-racism Plan, developed by a diverse employee committee, outlines the work ahead of us to continuously improve. It will help us be intentional about providing instruction that is inclusive and engaging for all students, especially those historically marginalized.”

The plan was presented to the Governing Board last summer and includes an anti-racism statement that begins with the following definition:

“Racism is systemic oppression that is conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional grounded in racial prejudices designed to reinforce the superiority of one race over another by an individual or group. In Campbell, we realize that racism is dehumanizing to everyone it touches.”

“The District has done some work in the past with different consultants,” said Whitney Holton, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “The problem with that work was that it wasn’t systematized. So we set out with some clear goals in mind as we engaged in year one of this important work.” The goals are:

  • Increase the racial literacy among the district’s leadership and instructional service team; 
  • Normalize conversations about race, bias and racism; and 
  • Understand how the system may be contributing to inequity and injustice for groups of people.

The plan marks a significant step forward in identifying and disrupting institutional racism. 

In year two of this work, the district will continue with the same goals above, and expand them beyond the district leadership and instructional team to include teachers and other staff. Through surveys, focus groups and empathy interviews with targeted students, the district also will engage the untapped voices of students, staff and families in order to learn how to better meet the needs of all students. 

“Each school will be engaging in a pathway of learning to increase racial literacy and deepen our understanding of the students we serve,” Holton said. 

More information about the district’s work to promote anti-racism in its system will be provided in future news articles. Click here to see the district’s full Anti-racism statement.

Updated Wed, Oct 6th

There is an adage in business: “Don’t plan the budget; Budget the plan.” 

Campbell Union School District’s 2021-22 budget was developed with a close eye on the goals in its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP):

  1. Provide high quality academic first instruction for all students.
  2. Provide high quality social emotional learning for all students. 
  3. Fully engage parents/guardians, and the community in support of student well-being.

The LCAP is the document that the district uses to set goals, plan actions, and leverage resources to meet the goals of improving student outcomes. The goals and actions are developed through input from stakeholders: parents, students, staff, community members and civic leaders.

Approximately 13 percent of the District’s $103.8 million budget is set aside for activities and services in the LCAP. Eighty-five percent covers salary and benefits, and about 2 percent pays for miscellaneous expenses, such as capital outlay. For more details about our budget and LCAP, visit our budget web page.

“Our community expects us to be prudent with public funding,” said Assistant Superintendent of  Administrative Services Nelly Yang. “We take that seriously. It has earned us added support from regional and local partners who provide grants and donations that boost student programs and stretch our public dollars even further.” 

Updated Wed, Oct 6th

How to safely navigate our digital world is an important conversation for families and educators to have with children. Opportunities for teaching those skills are coming this month. 

Lessons at school. During Digital Citizenship Week and throughout the school year, many of our CUSD teachers will be using digital citizenship lessons fromCommon Sense Media. Digital citizenship is about confident, safe and positive engagement with digital technologies. It helps students to empathize with one another and to think critically about the choices they make online.

While the negative impacts of social media on children and society have been the topic of news reports and dinner conversations lately, it is important to remember that technology also has many benefits. It provides students with more equity in accessing learning, can be a tool for creating rather than passively consuming, and can build skills they will need to succeed in the Information Age.

“Technology is how our children are going to interact with the world," said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. "We would be doing them a disservice if we didn’t engage them in using technology effectively as a tool and not a distraction. We are aware of the research linking social-emotional wellbeing and media use, and we are committed to partnering with you to support our students engaging effectively and safely through social media."  

Support for home. We encourage you to attend a virtual meeting for parents, October 26, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., called Digital Wellness: Parenting in the age of online distractionsHost Jaimie Nuñez, Regional Manager at Common Sense Education, offers parents insight about the latest trends in digital media and ways to shift their family's online behaviors.

Common Sense Media also offers Digital Citizenship Family Engagement Conversation Starters to help parents talk to their children about technology use and healthy boundaries.

These links may be of particular interest:

K–2 SEL Family Conversations in: English | Spanish

3–5 SEL Family Conversations in: English | Spanish

6–8 SEL Family Conversations in: English | Spanish

Common Sense Media's parent website offers information in English and Spanish: Common Sense Media or Common Sense Latino. Families may also find discussing and committing to the Common Sense Media Family Media Agreement valuable.

Updated Wed, Oct 6th

Grapefruit has performed thousands of COVID tests in Campbell Union School District since beginning just a few weeks ago, and successfully identified, traced, and isolated COVID-19 both within schools and the surrounding community. The testing POD located next to Monroe Middle School has become a critical testing access point, particularly after business hours and on weekends.

As we've commenced operations, though, we've encountered opportunities for improvement and alterations in flow and function. First off, we've partnered with Predicine to be able to eliminate "Modified Quarantine" Testing Days, and instead have a "Rapid Response Team" able to deliver testing where it's needed, when it's needed.

There have been some modifications in the testing schedule in order to maximize staffing and continue to refine procedures. We've transitioned testing over to all PCR testing, allowing a smoother flow through testing while at school and the benefit of gold standard testing. This is still a front-of-the-nose test, but now small children can elect to try an oral swab if they can't tolerate the nasal test. Results should be available in your inbox prior to the morning following testing, but may take up to 48 hours in rare cases.

Perhaps most importantly, Grapefruit is dedicated to continuing to adjust, adapt, and respond to needed changes. We know that first begins with open communication and fast access to answers. To that end, if you have any questions, concerns, comments, or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Grapefruit's Chief Medical Officer, Rick Pescatore, at Richard [at]


Dr. Richard PescatoreII, DO, FAAEM, FACEP
Chief Medical Officer, Grapefruit Testing

Updated 9 min 48 sec ago

slade being sworn inOn September 30, 2021, the Campbell Union School District Governing Board provisionally appointed William Slade to the seat vacated when Member Pablo A. Beltran resigned in August. 

Slade, an accountant and managing director, lives in San Jose and represents Trustee Area 3. His son is in fourth grade at Blackford School. 

“We had some really strong candidates to choose from,” said Board President Richard Nguyen. “We think William’s skill set and perspective as an involved parent will be a strong addition to the board.”

An active school volunteer, Slade also served as president of the Blackford School Site Council, which he found gratifying because he could apply his day job skills to a very different industry.

“My father preached that a solid education is the great equalizer and stepping stone to improve oneself,” Slade said. “To be involved at the 10,000-foot level allows for the general shaping of our future. My time on the School Site Council gave me a small window into this function. To work toward those goals at the district level is an exciting opportunity.”

A person appointed to fill a vacancy holds the office only until the next regularly scheduled election for district governing board members. In November 2022, an election will be held to fill the vacancy for the remainder of Beltran's term, which expires December 2024. 

Updated 9 min 48 sec ago

Thanks to a State grant, Campbell Union School District is able to expand learning opportunities to students this year. The new Sunshine Saturday program, operated by the district’s Expanded Learning Department, is one of those opportunities.

“We are using the grant funds to address the priorities that our stakeholders identified” said Expanded Learning Department Director Martha deOjeda. “The program gives students more opportunities for learning, socializing, and exercising,”

two girls work with lego blocksAt the first Saturday session, 35 students played games, such as Zombie tag and starfish tag, read stories, did some reflective writing, and completed an introductory lesson for the Lego class where they learned about the Lego pieces and how they will be able to program the Lego "Brains". All students had a snack during the four-hour program and even got to carry out a take-home lunch. 

“We’re excited to be able to offer the kinds of support that our community surveys indicated they need,” said Whitney Holton, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “The Expanded Learning Opportunities grant makes it possible to augment our Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and offer a range of supplemental support to our students.”  

Several schools also will host a Saturday program for eligible students in the coming months. Other examples of supplemental supports coming to schools this year include:

  • Increased after school programs.
  • Additional Math Specialists at each school.
  • Additional reading support for primary grade students.
  • Staff designated to support students who struggle with behavior and social emotional issues.
Updated 9 min 48 sec ago

The week of October 4-8 is Parent-Teacher Conference week. Students will be released extra early each day so that teachers will have time to meet with parents and share their observations of their student’s progress and plan to support their learning needs. (Please check with your child’s school for exact dismissal times.)

During the past six weeks of classes, teachers have been able to observe and assess student’s strengths and challenges, both academically and behaviorally. Teachers have communicated with families about scheduling remote or in-person conferences.

“The parent-teacher partnership is an important one for student success,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “Parents can provide valuable insights that the teacher can incorporate in daily instruction.”

No Students on Oct. 11

Monday, October 11,  (Columbus Day) is a Professional Development Day for teachers, which means no school for students. In addition to honing their skills and learning new strategies, our teachers will use the information from the parent-teacher conferences to plan ways to support their students’ during the school year.

Updated 9 min 48 sec ago

To the non-educator, the goal “Every Child a Reader by Third Grade” may seem simple. It isn’t.

“Learning to read is complex,” said Whitney Holton, Campbell Union School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “And teaching reading requires deep knowledge of the curriculum, identifying the obstacles to student learning, and professional expertise for advancing the student’s ability and desire to read and write.”

The district is focusing resources and teacher professional development on strengthening those skills for every student, especially in the early primary grades. A long-term study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who were not proficient in reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. Reaching literacy by third grade has long been a goal of California schools and a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success. 

diagram showing the strands of learning to read
Skilled reading is developed over time. Learning to read and then reading to learn are fundamental to student success.

“Our teachers use a systematic scope and sequence of phonics skills and multiple strategies and methods to establish strong foundational skills in literacy and to address any learning gaps that emerge,” said District-wide Administrator of Literacy Tiffany Spaudling. “At the same time, teachers are building vocabulary and language comprehension through exposure and discussions about rich texts.”

For the younger students in transitional kindergarten through second grade, teachers are using the CKLA curriculum to further the goal of “Every Child a Reader by Third Grade.” Teachers who participated in the LETRS course identified the need for more resources for teaching phonemic awareness and some teachers are piloting the Heggerty curriculum as a supplement. 

LETRS is a two-year course written by Louise C. Moats, Ed.D., a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Carol A. Tolman, Ed.D. Thirty-four CUSD teachers have completed the full two-year program, and 62 more have finished year one or are just starting this year.

For the older students, grades 3 through 8, teachers are using various approaches to strengthen specific skills to support individual student needs. To address gaps in phonics, they use the Sonday Essentials curriculum to identify specific missing skills. Teachers use flexible groupings so students can receive targeted instruction specific to their needs. 

Supporting Literacy At Home

“Whether your student is starting to hear sounds in words, bringing home stories to read that align to the phonics lessons they have learned in class, talking about echo and choral reading to improve their fluency, or getting to spend time with other teachers at their school, know that all of this is a sign that they are building their reading skills,” Spaulding said.

At home, she advises pulling out a great story or nonfiction text, talking about what you are reading and discussing new words your student may not know. If you want more ideas on how to support this at home, visit this website.